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General Medication Discussion This section is to be used for general medication discussion and other medications not broken out in their own respective forums.

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  #1  
Old 01-06-06, 01:49 PM
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ADD Meds and Hair Loss?

I have always had thin, brittle hair. After the birth of each child, or during times or stress, my hair will come out in clumps while it is washed. It's been doing it again the past few months. It had been healthier than ever recently and I was trying to grow it out: I've always wanted hair past my shoulders. But now it's coming out in huge clumps. I have read that some medications will cause this, such as antidepressants. I'm not on a antidepressant, I'm on a stimulant, Adderal XR. Another thing that might be causing it is weight loss, I guess: I have lost about 20 pounds since I started taking Adderall back in the spring (trust me, I won't miss the 20 lbs! LOL)

I had also read that Vitamin C will foul-up the absorption of ADD meds, so I had stoped taking vitamins. Because of the hair loss, I started taking vitamins again. Haven't noticed any improvment in my hair loss, but haven't really noticed a bid difference in the way I feel on my meds, either. So, I don't know.

Is this a common thing with ADD meds? Or maybe I'm just going bald? I'm seriously down about this, thinking of going to the beauty shop and having my hair chopped off. I hate the way I look with short hair: Too much like my Dad, if you know what I mean. LOL

I know, too much of a glamour-girl, can't help it. My mother is a hairdresser, so I was taught to worry about my hair from birth. LOL LOL
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Old 01-06-06, 02:53 PM
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I don't think it's related to your meds, but you never know. Hormones can cause differences in this area and it's possible the meds are affecting hormone levels.
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Old 01-06-06, 03:19 PM
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ask yourself what happened, oh maybe 3 months ago? usually if a person who is sensitive in this way experiences a big stress, it takes almost three months to experience mega hair loss. been there a few times. clogged up the bathtub drain. i swear, there was enough hair stuck in there to make a wig! i had to use Nair to dissolve it and the process needed repeating several times along with all sorts of other extraction procedures. revolting. not to mention all the hair stuck to my pillowcase in the morning. the hair that would fall into the food......therefore i had to tie it back all the time......

my hair is now maybe 3 inches long at it's longest. no more long hair, thanks.
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Old 01-06-06, 07:17 PM
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Stress can make your hair fall out too, but I have recently been having the same problem! I was on Straterra 40mg x6weeks 1 time a day (AM dose). I was then placed on a second dose of 25 mg in the evening - 3 PM or so- and since starting the second dose my hair has started thinning. I have had no other reason for my hair thinning other than the meds! Two months of horrible nausea, thinning hair and no significant cognitive change made me demand other options form my doctor. Im now on Cylert 37.5s and from day 1 I have seen huge improvements!

Tip: try Selenium and Folic Acid supplements as directed on the bottles for increased hair growth. Good Luck.
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Old 01-06-06, 08:37 PM
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My $0.02

Adderall certainly seems to be a plausible cause for this, and for several reasons:
- The nature of the drug
- Stress
- Weight loss
- Accompanied stress and reduction of nutrients
- Reduction in consumption of nutrients

You mentioned stress as one of the reasons your hair was coming out. Adderall XR, as you know, is amphetamine with an extended release delivery system. Amphetamines are sympathomimetic amines, meaning they trigger a sympathetic nervous system response (a.k.a. fight-or-flight).

This, while not very emotionally stressful, still causes many chemicals to be released into the body as if you were under some greater amount of stress, possibly causing your hair to come out.

Another factor is that of a changed (decreased) nutritional intake from the amphetamine. Amphetamine is a potent anorexic drug (severe decrease in desire of food (or even sometimes as bad as nausea simply from food being within a reasonably close proximity if you are me)). A lower food intake equals a lower intake of nutrients. Many people with the eating disorder anorexia have thin, brittle hair due to this decrease in nutrients. You stated that you lost 20 pounds since beginning to take it, showing that a reduced intake of food, meaning your nutritional intake may not meet your personal needs. This reduced-calorie weight loss may also be adding to your total stress level in your body and exacerbating the condition with your hair.

Also, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), being acidic, increases the acidity (decreases the pH) of the stomach, decreasing the amount of absorbtion of amphetamine and the two should not be co-administered. Please don't stop taking all vitamins. As stated above, with a reduction in caloric intake comes a reduction in essential nutrient (meaning they can not be made in your body and must be consumed) intake.

You may also try taking a few Tums or sodium bicarbonate along with the vitamin C 45 minutes to an hour prior to taking the Adderall. While I personally have not tried this, it seems like it SHOULD work, and may be something you should look into. Please don't go overboard with the vitamins in hopes to repair any damage, as certain ones can become toxic in large doses and can range from liver damage, nerve damage, kidney stones, etc.

If you have any more questions, wish for me to clarify, or feel that I am in need of a correction in any place, please do not hesitate to ask or PM me.

I sincerely wish you the best of luck, and, please, take a daily multivitamin.

~Charlie
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Old 01-06-06, 10:05 PM
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Hair loss can come from thyroid problems, pregnancy, alopecia, malnutrition, stress, or many other things.

I would look at the most common causes of hair loss first.

Have you talked to your Doctor about this?


PS. take vitamins a small snack (to prevent stomach upset) before bed. that way you are -=not=- taking them -=with meds=-.


Emma
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Old 01-06-06, 11:37 PM
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I agree w/Queens that common causes are more likely, but wanted to comment quickly on these:



Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieM
Also, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), being acidic, increases the acidity (decreases the pH) of the stomach, decreasing the amount of absorbtion of amphetamine and the two should not be co-administered.
Anything acidic like vitamin C should be taken at bedtime (when you're not taking Adderall).


Quote:
You may also try taking a few Tums or sodium bicarbonate along with the vitamin C 45 minutes to an hour prior to taking the Adderall.
You shouldn't take sodium bicarbonate or Tums along with Adderall. Alkanizng agents increase absorption of amphetamines.
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Old 01-07-06, 01:24 PM
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My thoughts were that the alkalinizing agent along with the vitamin C would cause a pH closer to that naturally found in the stomach than if either were used alone.

I also mentioned spacing out the two by taking the Vitamin C and Tums an hour before the Adderall with hopes that conditions would still be closer yet to the natural pH.

I do like the idea on just taking it at bed time when it would have no effect on the Adderall. Much easier than working out some system of alkalinizing and acidifying agents
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Old 01-07-06, 01:49 PM
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I thought I was the only one hair loss was happening to! My hair has been thinning for several years now but it is much more noticable in the last few weeks when I started concerta. I already take synthroid (for hypothyroidism).


I am toooooo young to be bald (plus it is not attractive for women). If anyone has additional advice/suggestions they would be appreciated.
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Old 01-09-06, 10:42 PM
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Luv, have your thyroid checked! It's a simple blood test to check the thyroid hormone level. Hair loss and weight fluctuation are a couple of the most noticable symptoms. Also, depending on your age you may want to check into using progesterone cream. A woman can need this sometimes up to 20 years before menopause, so you may want to ask a doctor. How about your iron intake?
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Old 06-24-07, 07:12 PM
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Adderall increases norepinephrine, which is a signal for stress. Stress can induce hair loss.
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Old 10-23-07, 03:18 PM
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Re: ADD Meds and Hair Loss?

I had hair loss 3 weeks into taking Focalin and then switched to Concerta-- with no improvement-- I have another post too you can check out.


Anyway my Dr. is convinced it is stree/anxiety-- which I agree with but the hair loss was undeniable while on those meds-- and has improved a little bit--I started out with extremely thick hair-- thank goodness-- I'm keeping an eye on it and going to go get some blookdwork if the improvement stops
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Old 05-14-08, 05:18 PM
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Re: ADD Meds and Hair Loss?

I am on Adderall XR & Wellbutrin XL and didn't notice any Hair Loss on the Adderall, until I started Wellbutrin, but that either doesn't mean it wasn't occuring or just took awhile to have an effect, since I up-tittrated my dose on Adderall quite fast (10mg/3-days) and then immediately started Wellbutrin to help with Depression[12-days ago].

Short Version: The drug companies are very likely knowingly leaving this side-effect off their official sheets so they don't scare people away from the ADD drugs.

The mechanism is very likely the same for Adderall & Wellbutrin since they work synergistically together (one increases, the other blocks and both act as stimulants in effect).

I have male pattern baldness and since my 20s I have been slowly losing my hair. Started Propecia around 30 and has been keeping it at bay until recently (now 36).

I have no doubt that before starting the two drugs, that stress, depression and taking St John's wort which may decrease finasteride levels were contributing to an increase in hair loss. This St John's effect was clearly not listed on the Propecia insert, but is here and have been using it as a stop-gap for about 6-months:
http://www.merck.com/mmpe/lexicomp/finasteride.html

So some of that would be related, but the rapid acceleration over a few weeks after starting these drugs is not a coincidence and not explainable otherwise.

It was very hard to find information on this and I feel that the drug companies have purposefully not studied it. (no studies, no proof):

Here is quote where someone said it briefly: "amphetamine not only increases plasma testosterone levels (precursor to DHT) but also reduces blood flow to the scalp."

Now I assume that also is true of Wellbutrin which has similar effects on the same Neurotransmitters and CNS. Here is a reference I did find which only was looking at high abuse levels:
http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=3264518

where it said "Acute amphetamine increased the progesterone, testosterone and androstenedione plasma levels, "

I don't know if the blood flow is that much of an issue or difference, but a major increase in plasma testosterone which would cause an increase in DHT does fit the functional problem with Male Pattern Baldness as the drugs are designe to block the conversion to DHT.

More plasma testosterone = more DHT in your scalp = DHT blockers ineffective because they were designed to work at normal doses AND accelerates the same DHT problems in men that might have only surfaced later (with genetic predisposition).

For women it is the same mechanism and cause, except it is their estrogen that keeps the DHT at bay naturally, but not the case if your system can't deal with the plasma testosterone production.
http://www.pioneerthinking.com/hairloss.html

Propecia (Finasteride) is a DHT enzyme inhibitor and it's dosage level (1mg) was only meant to deal with essentially normal levels of testosterone and DHT production.

It is possible that a higher amount of the same drug (like in 5mg Proscar) could deal with this new excess testosterone problem.


There are also related drug dutasteride which blocks two types of actions (instead of the one Finasteride block) and an early study showed it to be more effective. Saw Palmetto may also help, but it is hard getting accurate doses or even knowing how well it might work. Studies are mixed.

So very long story short...my feeling based on the above conjecture and only one reference (I really couldn't find ANY studies of ADHD drugs on hair loss) that this is the likely cause and potential solution.

One possible concern is that by reducing DHT more...it means the available testosterone levels goes up, which can be bad in the long run, but I am not sure the relative differences or their effects.

I figured I'd dredge up this old thread instead of starting a new one. I believe I am onto something and since most of the ADD drugs don't list it on their patient inserts and far too many people are complaining about it for it to be a coincidence.
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Old 12-28-08, 04:16 AM
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Re: ADD Meds and Hair Loss?

thehighlndr,

Have you considered that the finasteride is actually the problem, and the reason you need the adderall?

Finasteride has been linked to "brain fog", as well as depression. These little-known side effects appear to get worse the longer you take it. How long have you been on finasteride?

I was on finasteride for 10 years, before finally going off of it. I became increasingly confused and felt like I was losing mental capacity. I was diagnosed with ADD near the end of that time period. I started taking Adderall, which worked great, but I didn't like the side effects.

Finally, I quit using finasteride AND adderall. I went through a horrible bout of depression and the ADD came back with a vengeance. But after a full year off of finasteride, I'm starting to feel like I can concentrate again.

I'm just wondering if this fits in with your history as well. I notice there's quite a few finasteride users on these boards and I wonder how much of a coincidence it is. Hair loss is nothing compared to ADD.
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Old 01-28-09, 02:47 AM
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Re: ADD Meds and Hair Loss?

Thank god for these forums!! I have lost HALF of my hair in the last two months and I have been on Concerta for two and a half months! Ironic or side effect? Well I have been diagnosed and medicated ADHD for over 20 years and NEVER had the problems on Rittalin that I have had on Concerta. I am a licensed Cosmetologist for 25 years and am well aware of Male patterned baldness, diseases,Alopecia (another name for BALD), Hypo-Thyroid,hormonal balding,depression and stressed caused balding. But I have NEVER seen Methylphenidate caused thinning and NOW I have seen and EXPERIENCED it first hand. After seeing these boards I am calling my Doc. tomorrow and am going to wean off of these ITCHY BALDING causing meds and will demand to be put back on the Rittalin. Back to the basics for me because this is an unacceptable side effect for a woman to experience! What I would like to know is...does anyone know what the different ingredients are between Rittalin and Concerta. Generic Rittalin (methylphenidate) never cause hair loss for me and it is falling out in GLOBS now. Can anyone help?
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